DT 30204 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30204

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30204

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hola from the Vega Baja on the coldest morning of the year to date.  It was a shivering 3°C at 0800 this morning!  Hopefully it will warm up a bit after 0930 when the suns gets over our rear wall.

Today’s puzzle is a typical Monday offering in that it’s very enjoyable and mostly quite benign, but it has a couple of stings in the tail and a bit of GK needed”.  That’s what I wrote in the preamble to my last blog and it’s equally relevant today so it may as well stay.  I really enjoyed the tussle with this one and look forward to hearing how you got on with it.

As usual my podium three are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


5a           Advice from conservationist perhaps to no avail (7)
USELESS:  If the answer were split (3,4) it could well be advice from a conservationist about your consumption of resources.

7a           Pawn nobleman’s gemstone (5)
PEARL:  The letter for pawn in chess notation followed by the title of a nobleman.

9a           Move text about in second list of people’s names (6)
SCROLL:   The answer means move text on a computer screen and it’s an S(econd) and a list of peoples names, as in a roster, with a C for about inserted (in).  Took me an age for this one as I’d got the word “about” as part of the definition and so couldn’t see where the C in the answer was coming from, D’OH!!!

10a         Owner of trunk in the plane that’s flying (8)
ELEPHANT:  Anagram (flying) of THE PLANE.

11a         Remember Paddington? Popular personality (4,2,4)
BEAR IN MIND:  The first word of the answer is what Paddington is an example of, hence the ?. The next word is the usual two letters for popular and finally a word which could refer to one’s personality or character.  Couldn’t resist this . . .

13a         German song  told a tale (4)
LIED:  Double definition.

14a         Performer, in revolt, quits unexpectedly (13)
VENTRILOQUIST:  Anagram (unexpectedly) of IN REVOLT QUITS.

16a         Stake needed, unlimited (4)
ANTE:  Take a word meaning needed or desired and remove the first and last letters (unlimited).

17a         Crazy poet, penning piece with mother (7,3)
BARKING MAD:  Start with another word for a poet, often applied to Shakespeare, and insert a chess piece and the usual two letters for mother. Split that lot (7,3) and you’ll get a phrase meaning crazy.

19a         Country house retreat, colonial administrator’s first (8)
CLIVEDEN:  Start with the usual three letter retreat and before it (first) put a famous colonial administrator of India to get a country house which, among others, was once the home of Nancy Astor.  Apparently the Beatles also filmed part of the movie Help! here so it would be rude not to . . .

20a         Sign  missive (6)
LETTER:  Double definition.

22a         Entertain American goddess (5)
AMUSE:  A(merican) followed by a goddess.

23a         Answer’s in perplexing political publication (7)
HANSARD:  The abbreviation of answer is inserted into (in) a word meaning perplexing or difficult.


1d           Champion‘s round, giving support to that woman (4)
HERO:  The round letter placed after (supporting in a down clue) a word for “that woman”.

2d           Sort of easy chair in open area for games on ship (8)
RECLINER:  The abbreviation of an open area of ground used for games followed by (on in a down clue) another word for a passenger ship.  I spent too long thinking decks and deck chairs which I’m sure is just what the compiler intended!  If the compiler sets a trap you can be sure I’ll fall into it.

3d           Lay out  large meal (6)
SPREAD:  Double definition.

4d           Film vehicle, English, abroad (3,7)
VAN HELSING:  Start with a vehicle often used for deliveries and follow with an anagram (abroad) of ENGLISH.  Surprised I’ve not seen this anagram before but I don’t remember it!

5d           Relative‘s grubby leaving sauna on a regular basis (5)
UNCLE:  Take a word for grubby or dirty and remove (leaving) the alternate letters (on a regular basis) from sAuNa.

6d           Bishop arrested by new Lancashire PC in force (7,6)
SPECIAL BRANCH:  Anagram (new) of LANCASHIRE PC with a B(ishop) inserted (arrested by).

8d           Tolerant to allow nine to get changed inside (7)
LENIENT:  Take a word meaning allowed and insert (inside) an anagram (to get changed) of NINE.

12d         Criminal nervous about unknown journalist turning up for meeting (10)
RENDEZVOUS:  Anagram (criminal) of NERVOUS placed around (about) a letter representing an unknown in algebra and the usual journalist, but they’re reversed (turning up in a down clue).

14d         Ordinary article kept in large house (7)
VANILLA:  An indefinite article inserted into (kept in) a large house.

15d         Traitor I cast, after queen (8)
QUISLING:  This Norwegian traitor is the I from the clue and a word meaning cast or throw placed after the two letters for queen in chess notation.  Hands up those who tried to start the answer with ER for queen.

17d         Change one’s mind over government’s last spending plan (6)
BUDGET: A word which can mean change one’s mind or shift a little bit followed by (over in a down clue) a T (governenT’s last).

18d         Leading male in a commercial (5)
AHEAD: A two letter word representing a male inserted into (in) the A from the clue and the usual commercial.

21d         Catch some rising (4)
TRAP:  A word meaning some reversed (rising in a down clue).

I think 5a is favourite today with 17a and 12d on the podium but it’s a close run race!  For reasons unknown it took me ages to twig the bottom row pun, d’oh!

Quick crossword puns:

Top line:     WHEN     +      SLID     +     AIL     =     WENSEYDALE

Bottom line:     ROW     +     DIAL     +     HAND     =     RHODE ISLAND

62 comments on “DT 30204

  1. Only 26 clues!
    Mainly light and enjoyable though I got held up in the South West by 19a, which I think is a pretty poor clue. I’ve seen 5a before too but had never heard of the film at 4d.
    My prodium is 2,5&12d
    Many thanks to Cambell and Pommers.

  2. 2*/4*. This made a very nice, light start to the week. I thought a pangram might have been on the cards but it didn’t materialise.

    I can’t fault pommers’ podium choices of 5a, 17a & 12d with a special mention for both Quickie puns.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to pommers.

  3. I’m finding Mondays are tougher than they used to be and this was no exception. I got there but it was a bit of a struggle so not very enjoyable. I didn’t know the country house and I can’t see what the answer to 14d has to do with “ordinary”. I did like 10a and 15d with the latter being my COTD.

    The Quickie puns were terrific.

    Many thanks to Campbell for the beating and pommers for making sense of it for me.

    1. Steve, 14d when used as an adjective means bland, or lacking excitement supposedly after the ice-cream flavour

    2. Being somewhat repetitive – the BRB says ‘ordinary, usual, plain (orig comput sl)‘ – where the parenthetic comment of ‘originally computing slang’ is probably another way of saying ‘originally an Americanism.’

    3. I’m with you, very tricky today. No fun when they are this difficult as far as I am concerned

      1. I’m with you Brian. Only managed a few clues before I conceded defeat.
        Thanks to setter and Pommers. Loved seeing the Paddington clip again.

        1. Has there ever been a study on the types of questions / setter “styles” and people’s vastly differing abilities to solve them? I’m often stumped when others breeze through and every now and then – less often sadly – the reverse it true.

  4. Took an absolute age to get into this today, I’d read almost all the clues before
    solving one and putting it in! Stuck doggedly with it though, and gradually the pace began to pick up as I got into the setter’s tune.
    Glad I kept with it, as it was a very enjoyable puzzle. Favourites for me today were
    19 and 17a both very clever. Ta to our setter today.

  5. I would pretty much echo Steve L’s thoughts, but with one exception – I’d substitute his19a with 4d, which I considered a poor clue and then I’d add 16a to my favourites. Thanks to C and P.

  6. A little UK GK for me is always good for the soul, and so I liked 19a, 23a, and 11a, but 17a, 12d, and 4d top my podium. A very enjoyable bit of a tussle this morning and a good start to our week. Thanks to pommers in chilly Spain and Campbell. 2.5*/4*

    I liked both Quickie puns too.

  7. Found this very enjoyable offering on the tough side for a Monday, requiring a bit of GK and quite a lot of lateral thinking – just up my street. I fell into the same trap as Pommers with 3d, spending too long playing deck games on board ship.I didn’t go with ER for queen as I already had the Q, so the answer was obvious. Favourites today were 5a, 17a and 12d. My LOI and COTD is 9a for the time it took me to sort out what the C was all about. Thanks to Campbell and Pommers.

  8. Back to front.
    Solution in, then parsed.
    Funny, that.
    All over too soon.
    Nevertheless, satisfying.
    Gems, 9 and 17a and 17d.
    Big smile at 11a
    Many thanks Campbell and pommers.

  9. It’s Monday :good: It’s Campbell :good: But, I have to agree with Steve Cowling that Campbell is ‘moving away’ from the proscribed term. 2* (approaching 2.5*)/4*

    I had heard of the country house but thought it was somewhat obscure GK but I had not heard of the film, however, the clue was fair and with the checkers there was enough for an e-check.

    Candidates for favourite – 16a, 2d, 14d, and 25d – and the winner is 2d for leading me down the same ‘path’ as pommers.

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers.

    1. The country house was most famous for Nancy Astor and the Cliveden “set”. Astor was one of the famous Langhorne sisters, one of her sisters was Joyce Grenfell’s mother. I never tired of watching Grenfell, funny lady.

  10. Agree with Pommers comments and the **/****,spot on for a Monday.Liked the NW corner generally
    Favourite was the 17a charade,lots of amusing clues with just enough GK.
    14d seemed an odd solution but there it was in my Chambers

  11. Like others, I found it hard to get a toehold in this puzzle, circumnavigating the grid until some of the longer answers slotted in to facilitate the solving of the rest. Some fun clues to 22a, although I didn’t particularly care for the dd in 20a. I get missive, but sign?! COTD and LOI – 17a. Thanks to the setter and to pommers.

  12. A short but fun solve for me with plenty of sparkle. I thought there were some great and amusing surfaces, particularly 5a and 11a. I liked the slightly more challenging wordplay of 17a, 5d and 12d, though I usually think of unknown as X rather than Z.

    I’ll add to the discussion around obscurities (19a/4d) which I have complained about previously; I think GK is totally valid but I think it’s a bit unfair when there is no alternative to knowing it. 4d is pretty accessible from the wordplay and I think totally fine, 19a is wrapped up in two obscure GK clues – I happen to know the National Trust house but had no idea on the administrator – and I think is therefore an unfair clue. My tuppence worth.

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers

    1. You summed up my thoughts on 19a perfectly Wiggler. I too happened to know the house as I live nearby, but not a fair clue in my opinion for the reasons you state

  13. Like pommers, I hesitated slightly when it came to justifying the ‘c’ in 9a and twigging the bottom line Quickie pun – nice to see that I was in good company, sir!
    Didn’t know the 4d film – doesn’t sound very appealing either – but was OK with the country house albeit more for its present day incarnation as a top hotel and restaurant.
    5a has appeared in various incarnations previously so didn’t make my top three today – the honours went to 11a plus 2&12d.

    Thanks to Campbell and to pommers for the review.

  14. Yes this was good stuff from Campbell solved without electronic help of any sort and the GK was not problematic Good to see this was liked by almost all except for queries against some clues which I did not share.
    Four get very honourable mentions, 23a, 4d, 12d, and 15d. The Gold Medal goes to 17a which I thought excellent.

    I hope this augurs well for the week but will not hold my breath.

    Thanks to Pommers and Cambell.

  15. Solved together with Mrs BobH as we are having a new kitchen fitted and we are camping out in the sitting room. Great joy. So it was over in a flash. We used to visit the house and grounds when visiting friends in Maidenhead. The film name I remember because its sounds unusual. I would not wish to see it.
    Pleasant enough solve, bit needed the hints to parse the list of names.
    Thanks both.

  16. By no means plain-sailing but an absorbing exercise. North last to fall mainly due to my not being familiar with 4d film but then again I’m not really into horror films! Love the picture hint for 11a – I just can’t see that clip often enough – the late Queen Elizabeth 11 was such a good sport and indeed a first class actress – RIP Your Majesty. Am old enough to remember the Sixties well so venue for Keeler/Profumo affair in 19a was no problem. Overall that was a fun run. Thank you Campbell and pommers.

  17. A bit too much GK for my liking, but managed to pick my way through this with a bit of thinking, patience and help from checkers.
    Thanks pommers for the hints and unravelling 9a, which I couldn’t parse.
    Favourites were 5a, 11a and 12d.
    Thanks to Campbell for the challenge

  18. 9a was my last in. I just couldn’t get my head around the clue, and had to revisit several times. 19a was straight in, as I don’t live very far away, and it came straight to mind. For some, it would be pure guesswork, and I can see how that might be annoying. Although 19a was famous for lots of scandal in the 1960’s, it was more recently famous for hosting the Duchess of Sussex on the eve before her wedding.

  19. I fully agree with those who suggested this was a light and enjoyable start to the crosswording week. I quite like GK so no complaints from me, particularly when it is fairly clued. I cannot improve on our blogger’s podium choices so will happily go along with those.

    Many thanks to Campbell and pommers.

  20. Happily on wavelength from the off for a problem free stroll in just over *time. No problem at 19a as familiar with the digs from the Profumo shenanigans & the admin chappie for the parsing. 17a my runaway favourite & with ticks for 5&11a along with 6,12,15&17d. Haven’t seen the 4d film but fortunately clocked the indicator immediately. A very enjoyable kick off to the new week.
    Thanks to Campbell & Pommers.
    Ps can we have the heating turned up a notch please….

  21. For a change this one went in fairly easily for me. The only hesitation, and LOI, was 4d. I had never heard of the film so was astonished to find that the meaningless anagram of ‘English’ I had worked out actually did mean something! 1.5*/****

  22. Beaten by 19a. Despite knowing about Clive of India, he didn’t come to mind. It could have been one of many
    14a was a very clever anagram and my COTD

  23. Agreed this seemed to me a little little more demanding for a Monday but a steady slog got me to within 2 from the post. One of which was 9a where the answer would indicate moving amongst text usually up or down as opposed to actually moving text, maybe it’s just me.
    Otherwise good start to the week
    Thanks to the setter and Pommers

  24. Considerably more fun and less challenging than my tax return which was my other task for the day. 17d gets my vote.

    Thanks to today’s setter and pommers.

  25. Not sure why, but this didn’t feel or seem like a Campbell puzzle to me, but considering it has been him for so long on a Monday, I certainly can’t commit to it not being one of his. I’m usually wrong, anyway, on setters.
    Nonetheless … I enjoyed the puzzle and struggled a little in the SE, but it all came together eventually.

    2*/4* for me today

    Favourites include 5a, 11a, 17a, 2d & 4d — with winner 17a

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers

  26. Smooth but also sparkling, top-end Campbell today and I agree with Pommers’ **/****. Right in my GK zone so no hold-ups there. COTD 14a/14d.
    Thanks Pommers & Campbell.

  27. It is always encouraging when you are able to fill in 1a straight away, I think we have seen it before. I spotted the 14a anagram and also had no trouble with 19a. So a fairly happy bunny. 9a was last one in and I needed Pommers for that and 17a. Super Quickie puns also. I have never heard of the film(and it seems I wouldn’t want to know it) but it was fairly obvious to work out and I Googled it. Glorious sunshine in the conservatory, dentist has been cancelled this afternoon so no excuse not to carry on with my ‘sorting out’. Many thanks to Messrs Setter & Hinter.

  28. I’ll start with the ones I wasn’t too keen on. The third word in 11a, 19a, the first definition in 20a and 14d. Having said that they were all fairly clued and the crossword was generally accessible and enjoyable. Favourite was 17a. Thanks to Campbell and Pommers.

  29. I’ve been sorting out photographs ready for George’s birthday party next week – we are great dresser-uppers and this was a Doctors and Nurses New Years Eve. George makes a fearsome Matron!

    1. What a terrific pic. George looks a hoot. Mr Florence and I went to a fancy dress party in November 1990 dressed as Margaret Thatcher and John Major. Nobody knew who we really were until about half an hour into the party, when we took our masks off to grab a drink.

  30. Not my cup of tea today, though I managed to get it all sorted out.
    Along with several others I thought the film and the country house were a bit unfair…..especially the country house, though I did remember it. Wasn’t it connected with the Profumo scandal however many decades ago that was ?

    Thanks to the setter and to Pommers.

    The roofer have finally gone ! Hurrah and double hurrah! My sugar supply is again safe. Roof looks good too.

  31. I enjoy a crossword with a bit of General Knowledge and some good anagrams so this was right up my street and a confidence booster after yesterday’s DNF. I like Campbell’s cunning anagram pmus lego hybrd clues so 4d and 19a were joint COTD’S. s mention also goes to the superb 14a anagram and rto 12a. Altogether this was most enjoyable. Thanks to Pommers for the hints and to Campbellvdor what is often the most enjoyable backpager of the week.

  32. All went very smoothly at first, and I was thinking I was right on wavelength, but half way through it got more difficult. Never heard of 4d, but not surprising as horror films are not something we enjoy. Rather liked 11a, but was reluctant to pen in 17d, as I couldn’t quite accept the first part of the word. But quite enjoyed.

  33. I did this in the car on my Kindle going to and from Norwich Hospital where D had an appointment at 10.30. As it was -7 here this morning and like a skating ring we left at 8.30 for the 1 hour journey. 4 miles down the road a completely different story so we arrived at 9.30 but went in anyway. Someone hadn’t turned up so we were seen straight away and were back in the car within 30 minutes so didn’t have to pay to park – result. Even better result was that all procedures back in October were negative. A DNF for me as I didn’t know the film and couldn’t even guess it but the rest was OK but with the potholes of Norfolk will not be doing it on a Kindle in the car in future. Thanks to all.

    1. Nice to hear good news that your results were negative. Upwards and onwards! I thought we in South Cambs had the worst potholes, but sounds as though you have them as well. So dangerous.

  34. Not my cup of tea at all today – I don’t even like tea – I’ll have coffee, thanks very much.
    I do think that Campbell is getting (on some days) more and more difficult.
    I’m perfectly happy with some GK but I think that the answer should be possible to work out – never mind.
    I’ve never heard of 14d meaning what it does in this answer – maybe I have met it or just forgotten it.
    I feel as if all I’ve done today is complain – very sorry, everyone . . .
    I did like 6d!
    Thanks to Campbell for the crossword and to pommers for the hints.

  35. 23a was my first one in. The magazine I worked on had lots on the bookshelves, as it was owned by
    Lord Altrincham, who sat opposite me. On my first day of work, he renounced his title – very exciting!

  36. A red-letter day! First, I completed the quickie, I don’t think I’ve ever completed one before. I, too, had a problem with the second pun. The cryptic was a DNF as I didn’t know 4d, after staring at it for ages, I reckoned it was a film so gave up. The rest of the puzzle was first class, I loved it. I knew all the GK, 19a was no problem, knew it from books I’ve read, I forgot Clive though, 23a was also known to me. I loved 17a and 15d, also 11a though I might be influenced by the clip! I suppose tomorrow we’ll go back to the weird world, oh well, I had a load of fun today! Thanks to Campbell for the fun and to pommers for his hints and pics.

  37. I also found it a bit harder than usual.
    The film in 4d rang a bell and the country house in 19a was known to me.
    Thanks to Campbell and to Pommers for the review.

  38. Well I got off to a good start and then spent a long time going up and down cul-de-sacs! The only clue I didn’t get was 4d even with 5 checking letters in place. Have never heard of the film and having read the above comments wouldn’t want to watch it! Liked 11a and 14a. Many thanks to Campbell and Pommers (loved the Paddington clip with our dear departed Queen).

  39. Quite enjoyed most of this, very Mondayish, was held up in the NW for a while as I was sure 5d was “gaunt” ***/*** 😃 Favourites 5a, 9a & 4d. Thanks to Pommers and to Campbell

  40. Late to it today…but the afternoon brain fog hadn’t descended and other than a slight hesitation to complete 16a, and the fact I still don’t understand 20a despite the hint, I found this a bit of an enmtertaining procession. Single * territory timewise but most satisfying. 4d gets the nod from me today, also never seen that anagram before now.

      1. I don’t understand it either. I found this very difficult – a real struggle. Mondays (and Tuesdays, I think) definitely seem to be getting harder – for me, at any rate. Thanks none the less to Campbell and to Pommers for coming to the rescue.

  41. Started it at lunchtime, and having read all the clues, only managed to solve about a quarter. Returned to it this evening, and what do you know – completed it quite easily. Extremely unusual for me, maybe I should follow a two-part solve in future.

    Thanks to the setter for the challenge, and to Pommers for the hints which I shall now read with a smug ‘I knew that’ expression on my face.

  42. 2*/4*….
    liked 12D ” Criminal nervous about unknown journalist turning up for meeting (10)”

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